The foreign office has told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is deliberately “concealing himself” in a bid to stall the execution of the court orders.
“It is established that convict Nawaz Sharif is fully aware of the proceedings of this case and deliberately concealing himself from the execution of processes of this court and absconding,” said a report submitted by the foreign office to the IHC.
An IHC bench on September 15 issued the former premier’s non-bailable arrest warrants after he failed to appear before the bench hearing his appeals against his conviction in Al-Azizia and Avenfield cases.
Later, the bench started the process of declaring the PML-N supreme leader a proclaimed offender and ordered authorities to publish advertisements – or proclamations – in London based newspapers, summoning Nawaz Sharif on November 24.
The IHC had noted that if Sharif did not appear in the court within 30 days after publication of the ads then he would be declared an absconder. It had also ordered authorities to paste the ads outside his London and Lahore residences.
The foreign office report in its recent report said the Pakistan High Commission in London stated on November 9 that the proclamation has been forwarded to Sharif’s residence through Royal Mail and that Sharif has also received the proclamation.
“A copy of the receiving given to the Royal Mail has also been annexed with the letter of the Pakistan High Commission in London,” it said.
It said news regarding issuance of proclamation of the accused was widely reported by the print and electronic media both within Pakistan and abroad. The proclamation was also put up at the premises of the IHC on October 21.
In compliance with the IHC’s October 7 order, another report was submitted to the IHC by the office of the Additional Attorney General for Pakistan through Assistant Attorney General Saqlain Haider.
The report said the proclamation was received on October 12 from the IHC Additional Registrar Judicial with a request to publish it in the Daily Jang Lahore and London and the Daily Dawn Lahore on Oct 19.
The Additional Attorney General’s office also wrote to the Press Information Department (PID) requesting it to publish the proclamation. The proclamation was published on October 19.
The Additional Attorney General’s office also sent the proclamation to the foreign office and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general on October 22 to put up the proclamation at the residences of Sharif at Lahore’s Model Town, Shamim Farms and Jati Umrah.
The FIA later constituted a team for personally putting up the proclamation at the residence. However, some senior lawyers said it is impossible for the federal government to repatriate or extradite Nawaz Sharif.
Sharif’s visa expiring
A senior official of the Federal Ministry for Law said Nawaz Sharif’s visit visa to the UK is about to expire. Convicted former premier Nawaz Sharif had flown to London in November 2019 after the federal government gave him a rare permission to get medical treatment abroad.
“Visit visa in the UK expires after completion of six months stay. A further renewal of six months requires an exit from the UK before expiry and a re-entry to the UK after a visit abroad.
“However, the above requirement can be waived in the event of a serious illness rendering him incapable of travel or undergoing medical treatment,” he added.
The official said the timing of Nawaz Sharif‘s recent illness appears rather convenient as it coincides with his visa expiry date. The IHC will resume hearing of the case on Tuesday.